Monday, August 12, 2013

My Top Tips for Tent Camping

Every year my husband and I load up the kids and drive hours away to spend a week camping. We don't always go to the same place twice, but we do end up on Lake Michigan. Last week we enjoyed a week in Holland, Michigan. Gorgeous!



Not having a camper (or a truck to haul one!), we get close to nature and sleep in a tent. Don't gasp! It's okay, really. We've made tent camping as comfy and convenient as possible, and here's how:

1. Go to a campground with running water, electricity, and showers.


Taking a shower each day makes all the difference. Electricity is a must for us to save money. I can brew our coffee, make meals using an electric skillet, and charge our phones :)

2. Get off the ground. Invest in cots or blow-up mattresses.


Sleeping on the hard ground gets old after about one hour. Cots and blow-up mattresses make tent camping bearable. We found less expensive cots at Kmart one year for less than thirty dollars each. Or you can use coupons at sporting goods stores. We've been camping for almost ten years, so those initial costs were worth it.

 

3. Buy a screened-in tent to create a make-shift kitchen.


We found one at a garage sale for twenty bucks, and it's a life-saver. Ours isn't the easiest to put up, but it keeps critters out of the food and provides a little shelter from rain. There are newer models that go up with ease if you don't mind spending a little more.

4. Two coolers. One plastic bin. Electric skillet. Coffee maker. These are essential.


One cooler holds drinks. The other cooler holds food. The plastic bin is for your dry foods (prevents moisture, bugs, and other creatures). We cook most of our meals in the skillet or on a portable grill. A coffee maker is a must--even if you don't drink coffee. You can heat water to wash your dishes. :)

5. Tarps.


We've learned the hard way that you want a cheap blue tarp under your tent (keeps the bottom clean and the ground moisture out). You also want a tarp tied over your tent. Yes, your tent will say it's rain proof, but trust me, it isn't. Tarps keep you and your belongings dry. Use them!

6. Keep camping necessities in a bin to bring every time you camp.


Ours holds a knife, dish soap, matches, garbage bags, rope, a hatchet, a hammer, tarps, lanterns, a spatula, a small tub to wash dishes, and a dust pan. We also keep an extension cord and a power strip in there.



We bought a smaller vehicle last year, so we had to purchase a cargo topper for this camping trip. We also didn't have room for one of our coolers. We improvised by purchasing all of our drinks and a throw-away foam cooler when we got to the campsite. The plastic bin with all our little things? When we set up camp, we move all the contents into the trunk and stored our food in this bin.

Tent camping allows us to enjoy a week away for little cost. We make most of our meals, spend time exploring the cute little towns nearby and hanging out on the beach. We hike a lot, sit by a campfire every night, and we unplug. There's nothing better than complaining about my creaky body while sipping a hot cup of coffee with my husband each morning. The air, trees, and birds seep into my soul. It's the best!

Do you ever go camping? What do you love about it? Or if you don't, why not?

Have a fabulous Monday!

14 comments:

  1. your trip sounds like fun, Jill...but I'm not a camping girl. My DH keeps talking about how much fun his family had camping when he was a kid. All I can think about is being eaten alive by mosquitos...

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    1. Bug spray is a must, Kristina! I always have two bottles on hand. :) Tent camping isn't for everyone. I'll be the first to say it!

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  2. I went the easy way. I got the camper

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    1. I would too!! Campers are more convenient!

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  3. Great tips! I have to admit, when it comes to camping, I'm an RV girl. I mean, I can handle a night or two in a tent, but I guess the spoiled girl in me loves a comfy camper. Haha. My favorite thing about camping is bonfires late at night. Love!

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    1. RV's are good, Melissa! Nothing like a cozy little hideaway, right? I love bonfires. And s'mores. :)

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  4. Oh my goodness, Jill, you were about 20 minutes from me! I know that lighthouse:) (In fact, I have a senior picture of me in front of it!) Did you go to Captain Sundae? Did you check out the shops on 8th street? Go to The Peanut Store? Or just hang on the beautiful beach? LOL Hubby grew up camping in Holland for weeks every summer. I only camped there the week after graduation--I'm not a Happy Camper! HA!

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    1. No way!! We saw at least six high-schoolers getting senior pics on the beach! Captain Sundae is our FAVORITE!! We call it "cappy's." It's the best. I want some right now. :( I love the Peanut Store, too--I always buy bulk caramels! Holland is the best!

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    2. It is! I've been blessed to grow up so close to the Lakeshore:)

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  5. Those are good tips, but sadly I've come to realize that I'm not a happy camper. Sometimes it's just better to know your weak spots and own them. We usually book a hotel otherwise mommy ends up cranky and sulky :)

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    1. I have no problem "just saying no" to camping. Trust me! After four nights of what I call "cot neck" I'm thrilled to be in my own bed!

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  6. Thank you so much Jill for such a great tips for camping. I truly appreciate it.

    Zion National Park Camping

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  7. My dad is really big into camping and we always bring a tarp with us. He's so nifty in how he's able to use things in a 'sneaky' way. He was able to make chair out of just two branches! I hope some day I'll be able to be a good of a camper as my dad. http://www.mvtents.com

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  8. I loved the idea of combining camping with Ocean. The post was very interesting to read. Keep sharing such posts. Presently we are looking for some affordable wedding venues NYC for my brother’s wedding. Hopefully, will get one affordable venue soon.

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